White House welcomes court ruling on border wall, proposes rollback of environmental law

White House welcomes court ruling on border wall, proposes rollback of environmental law
President Donald Trump tours a section of the southern border wall, Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019, in Otay Mesa, Calif., with acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan, third from right, and acting Homeland Secretary Kevin McAleenan, second from right. (Source: AP/Evan Vucci)

(AP) - The White House says construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall will move forward after a federal appeals court ruling that frees up construction money.

The 2-1 ruling halted a federal judge’s ruling in December that had prevented the government from spending $3.6 billion diverted from 127 military construction projects to pay for 175 miles of border wall.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit noted the Supreme Court had in July stayed a similar injunction, clearing the way for President Donald Trump’s administration to tap billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to build sections of border wall.

A White House spokeswoman said Thursday, “We will finish the wall.”

A private border wall in South Texas could also start construction in the coming days following U.S. District Judge Randy Crane’s ruling Thursday lifting a restraining order against the project.

Also, Trump has proposed rolling back enforcement of National Environmental Policy Act, a landmark environmental law.

His plan would reduce federal oversight of many major projects, from pipelines to mines to commercial development, to speed the approval process.

Trump says the country cannot compete and prosper "if a bureaucratic system holds us back from building what we need.”

The changes would reduce the number of projects requiring federal oversight of the environmental impact before they could go forward.

That law changed environmental oversight in the U.S. by requiring federal agencies to consider the impact of major projects on the environment. Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups say the changes will exempt polluters from public scrutiny of their projects.

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